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What to Do if You Encounter a Bear (in Wisconsin)?

Wisconsin has an abundant supply of outdoor activities to satisfy even the most avid open-air enthusiasts. Whether you are hiking a trail, visiting a pristine waterfall, or venturing out in a winter wonderland on a snowmobile, there is a little something for everyone.

However, as with all outdoor activities, you must always be prepared for the worst-case scenario. While most of us know to pack the first aide kit and extra food, few of us ever considered what we'd do if we ever encountered a bear!

Prevent bears from coming in the first place.

Fortunately, bear sightings are rare in Wisconsin and almost obsolete in the winter months when bears are hibernating. Once spring rolls around, bears wake up from their slumber and start moving around again. If they have trouble locating food, they may search out alternative food sources – such as food found near campsites or cabins.

Make sure to stash all food in bear-proof bags, canisters, or stuff sacks if your camping, and indoors if staying at one of our cabins. While staying outdoors, all food and aromatic supplies, must be hung at least 10 feet in the air and at least eight feet from tree trunks to prevent bears from grabbing your goods.

If that seems like too much work, you can invest in storage containers and sacks that prevent a bear from breaking in or leave your food in locked vehicles. An even better idea... just stay at our cabins made with brick and locked doors. Lastly, always clean up after barbequing or eating outdoors on our picnic tables so your crumbs don't draw unwanted attention later on.

Regardless, once a bear learns that they won’t be getting any food from your area, they will likely leave your area in search of other, easier food sources.

Scare them.

Bears, by nature, are usually scared of humans. If you spot a bear, make sure to leave the bear a clear exit path and then proceed to make lots of noise. Scream, holler, clap your hands, honk the car horn, use a whistle, or find any other means to make a sudden and loud noise. Bears will usually get spooked by this and scamper away to safer ground.

Do not approach or exhibit aggressive behavior towards a bear.

Usually, the only time a bear will become aggressive is if they are feeling threatened that their young or food source is in danger. If you are around a bear exhibiting any hostile behavior, follow these steps to deter the bear from approaching any further:

  1. Shout loudly at the bear to leave.

  2. Wave arms overhead to make yourself seem larger than you are.

  3. Back away slowly. Do not run and do not turn your back on the bear.

  4. Do not “play dead”.

While the chance of running into a bear is unlikely, if you do happen upon one it usually is no cause for alarm. By respecting the bear’s space and leaving them be, they will not feel threatened in the first place.

Keep your food and supplies tidy and out of a bear’s reach at all times. If you do these things, the both of you can co-exist peacefully in the great outdoors of Wisconsin.

Ready to take an adventure into bear-country? Great! Check out our available cabins and book your trip up north!



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